A proud day for Japan

Ivan Morris

Hideki Matsuyama celebrates with the Masters Trophy during the Japan Green Jacket Presentation Ceremony after winning the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, Sunday, April 11, 2021.

By Friday evening I had become so bored with the tediousness of the manner in which The Masters Tournament was being broadcast I subsequently spent more than half of my time asleep in front of the TV.

My excuses are: 1 – I’m getting old and the broadcast extended past my normal bedtime. 2 – Knowing that I would be sitting on my posterior for a far longer time than I know is good for me, I went for longer walks than usual during the middle of the day which may have tired me out. I also knew that there was no need to worry about missing anything because I discovered that I could see every shot from any of the players I wanted to see in action later on a Playback Device on the official Masters website.

By clicking on ‘The Field’ and then the player I wished to see in action, followed by another click on the holes on the scorecard, every shot played could be seen as often as I wished. If you are like me and enjoy studying various swing techniques, it was most educational. What a marvellous innovation! I wish it were available at more than just The Masters.


No longer did I have to listen to the largely dreary and unimaginative SKY team of commentators – if I did not want to. Their waffle and forced hyperbole seemed worse than usual. If I ever have to listen to another: “Atta boy!” comment by Butch Harmon, it will be too soon. Nor does Rich Beem ever say anything much of any interest. I cannot understand why they are ‘jobbed’ as SKY Golf’s main men when Wayne ‘Radar’ Reilly and Paul McGinley are both far more enlightening and entertaining.

Before the tournament Bryson DeChambeau told the world at large that he would attack the front nine by cutting corners and play the back nine in orthodox fashion on a course he rated as a par-67 (for him) back in November. That sure backfired and, thanks to Playback, I was able to see why.

I have come to the conclusion that the ‘mad scientist’ isn’t so intelligent after all. In fact, he may not even be clever enough to realise what an eejit he is to think he can bully a golf course as subtle and strategic as Augusta National. Bob Jones and Alister MacKenzie, in the guise of unforgiving Golf Gods cruising around in one of the drones overlooking the action (what an addition, they are!), must have been having a good laugh at DeChambeau’s expense.

I also studied every shot Rory McIlroy played during his two rounds. He didn’t play at all badly. He really is not that far from his normal self. A holed putt here or there and no more than one bad shot in each round eliminated would have made a big difference. I reckon what Rory needs is a rest and a few chats in private with a kindly mentor who will tell him to leave his swing alone and not play again until he feels ‘golf-starved’.

Rory knows how to play golf. He doesn’t need a swing coach to tell him how to hit a golf ball or win tournaments. He has allowed his mind to become cluttered with too much unhelpful information and could do worse than listen to these (mangled) words of Frankie Goes to Hollywood: Relax, don’t do it
When you wanna play golf; Relax, don’t do it; When you wanna swing; Relax, don’t do it; When you wanna chip and putt; Relax, don’t do it; Until you’re good and ready and, then you CAN do it!

Hideki Matsuyama’s first golf major win for Japan was long overdue but Augusta never crowns its champions without extreme anxiety being part of the rites of passage. It really is true that it isn’t over until it’s over. It does not matter now that Matsuyama hit fewer fairways and greens than almost any other winner since these things were counted. His Saturday 65 may have been bogey-free but he hit only five fairways and 12 greens.

It is a sad reflection on the opposition that nobody could apply any pressure until the Japanese brought it upon himself with a crazy decision on the 15th and a poor second shot to No. 18 that brought the memory of Arnold Palmer’s infamous collapse in 1961 to mind. Needing ‘only’ a par to win, Arnie went into the same bunker as Hideki and ended up finishing with a 6 that allowed Gary Player to don his first (of three) green jackets. If, if, if has always been part of the story at Augusta. But, the entire population of ‘golf-mad’ Japan won’t care, and why should they? They have a green jacket. Wear it with pride.

Matsuyama Masters Augusta + Is the Irish Open in doubt?

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